Peter Gutteridge, Underground Music Legend, Dies

P Gutteridge NewsCourtesy of Nigel Moore

Originally from Dunedin, New Zealand, indie rock guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Peter Gutteridge, has passed away at the age of fifty-three. The announcement was made by Flying Nun Records, the record label who put out albums by many of the bands Gutteridge played a part in, from The Clean, The Chills, the Great Unwashed and Snapper. On Flying Nun’s news webpage, the announcement read, “We are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Peter Gutteridge today. Peter was a Flying Nun original, a founding member of The Clean, The Chills and of course his own brilliant band Snapper. A great talent, he was also a member of the Great Unwashed, involved in many Dunedin bands and went on to release beautiful solo material across the years.”

The statement continued, saying, “All of us, and so many people around the world, have been touched and affected by his music, whether it be the swirling fuzz of the guitar or haunting piano melodies, Peter was a true hero of New Zealand music, and will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this very sad time. Thank you Peter for all the music, may you rest in peace.”

Gutteridge helped to pioneer the Dunedin Sound that became familiar in the 80’s – an earnest, lo-fi, jingly-jangly, indie-pop style sounding music which emerged from the punk rock scene of Dunedin, New Zealand in the late 70’s.  During this time, Gutteridge was the bassist for The Clean, along with the brothers David and Hamish Kilgour. Flying Nun released their debut single “Tally Ho!” Gutteridge soon helped to found The Chills, playing guitar for the alternative rock group,  while later penning the song “Point That Thing Somewhere Else,” for The Chills’ 1986 Compilation. In 1983, he and the Kilgour brothers founded another band called the Great Unwashed, followed by drone and noise pop band Snapper in the mid 80’s.

Gutteridge according to the New Zealand Herald, however, did not enjoy being lumped into the Dunedin sound genre. He reportedly told MessandNoise.com last year that, “People didn’t think about the sound of things, people put on guitars and then clanged out stuff. I just got tired of a guitar sound that wasn’t thought about.” He elaborated, saying, “I mean, I wrote [The Clean’s] ‘Point That Thing [Somewhere Else]’ at 17. That sort of sums up where I come from.”

Continuing, he said, “I love textures. I love Indian music – now that’s true psychedelic music without having to give itself a term. A lot of rock music leaves me cold. It’s anal. It’s self-indulgent. That’s it. But there’s great stuff too. Rock music is only rock music.” Gutteridge released only one solo album, 1989’s Pure, via Xpressway Records, an album that for many years was only available on cassette in New Zealand. Lucky for Dunedin and Gutteridge fans, 540 records released it as a double LP in the U.S. in 2013.  After about a decade-long hiatus, the Great Unwashed banded together again for a 2012 show in Dunedin, New Zealand. Gutteridge died in Auckland, New Zealand two years later.

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